International Puppy Farm Awareness Day

(12pm Sunday 18 September, Belmore Park)

Welcome everyone and thank you Animal Liberation for holding this vital rally to call for an end to cruel Factory Farming of Puppies.

I would like firstly to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land and pay my respects to Elders both past and present.

Australians think of themselves as animal lovers - we love our pets and boast the highest rate of pet ownership in the world - but our laws allow immense suffering in the name of profit.

Pets are bought and sold in shops like handbags and shoes, and many get discarded when the cuteness wears off and people become aware of the costs, behaviours and responsibilities of owning a pet.

Many end up in pounds and shelters.

There are never enough homes for the large numbers of animals that are dumped.

In New South Wales alone over 60,000 cats and dogs are destroyed every year.

This does not include the animals dumped in national parks and forests, or those that end up living on the street having multiple litters.

In Australia, one dog is killed every four minutes.

Yet dogs are bred en masse to supply cheap puppies for pet shop windows and classified sales. They are farmed in factory facilities which force bitches to breed continuously, often starting from as young as six months. They are kept in filthy and confined conditions without opportunity to socialise.

Many develop conditions like osteoporosis, urinary tract infections and stomach problems.

When they can no longer breed they are destroyed.

This is all in the name of profit.

What a disgraceful indictment on our society!

A humane civilised society would not allow this abhorrent practice to continue.

That is why in 2007 I introduced my Animals (Regulation of Sale) Bill to ban the sale of cats and dogs in pet shops and markets and limit classified sales to responsible breeders and rescuers.

The bill would have closed a major outlet for puppy farms and backyard breeders.

Even though thousands of animal lovers lobbied their local State MP's, both the Labour Government and the Coalition Opposition voted against my bill. The pet industry's lobbying won the day and puppies continue to be bred in puppy farms.

But we will not give up!

The wheels of reform grind painfully slowly in the NSW Parliament and the major parties are captives of vested interests - but I believe public opinion is on our side and in time we will stop this abhorrent practice.

I have now proposed a Parliamentary Inquiry into animal welfare - something the Coalition supported in Opposition. Now they are in government they want to avoid an inquiry (too much will be revealed - the public could make submissions, the abhorrent practice of puppy farming would be exposed) so the new Coalition Government has set up a Taskforce which of course includes strong pet industry representation.

So I urge you to lobby your MP's to support the Parliamentary Inquiry that I have proposed. It will be debated and voted on late this year or the beginning of next year.

Its important you are here today. Thank you for supporting this important cause.

I commit to working with you till we achieve reform that will stop the senseless suffering of animals.